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Tony Strix Award Past Winners 2009 to 2016
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Tony Strix Award Past Winners 2009 to 2016

Below is a list of the winners since the Trophy was first presented in 1998. Scroll down to see more details of the winners from 2009 to date.

2018 Professor Pia Borlund

2017 Professor Maarten De Rijke

2016 Professor Maristella Agosti

2015 Professor Peter Ingwersen

2014 Dr Susan Dumais

2013 Professor W Bruce Croft

2012 Doug Cutting and David Hawking

2011 Alan Smeaton

2010 Michael Lynch

2009 Carol Ann Peters

2008 Kalervo Jarvelin

2007 Dr. Mats G. Lindquist

2006 Stella Dextre Clarke

2005 Jack Mills

2004 Professor Cornelis Joost (Keith) van Rijsbergen

2003 Dr Herbert van Sompel

2002 Malcolm Jones

2001 Prof Peter Willett

2000 Dr Martin Porter

1999 Dr Donna Harman

1998 Prof Stephen Robertson


2018 Award Winner

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the prestigious Tony Kent Strix Memorial Award for 2018, in recognition of her contributions to the field of information retrieval, is Professor Pia Borlund (Department of Archivistics, Library and Information Science at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway.)


Professor Borlund was nominated for the award by Diane H. Sonnenwald, Emerita Professor of Library & Information Studies at University College Dublin, and received unanimous praise and support from the Strix judging panel. ‘Similar to the memorable Dr Tony Kent, the work by Borlund is original and innovative, and has had a significant impact on information retrieval (IR) research and applications. Her approaches are analytical and practical, and her devotion and dedication to users and interactive information retrieval (IIR) are outstanding. Within the IR community, Borlund is known for her innovative contributions to IR user studies, evaluations and test design, including strong, novel methodological contributions to IIR evaluation. In particular, she is recognised for the development of her IIR evaluation model which uniquely employs simulated work task situations. Borlund developed the IIR evaluation model as a doctoral student by taking up the challenges of the calls put forward by Professor Stephen Robertson (recipient of the first Tony Kent Strix Award in 1998) and Micheline Hancock-Beaulieu, in their iconic 1992 paper on IR systems evaluation.’


The Award was presented by Doug Veal (Strix Chair) and David Ball (UKeiG Chair) and accepted by Dr Andrew MacFarlane on Professor Borlund’s behalf on the afternoon of Friday November 23rd2018, at the Geological Society, Piccadilly, London. Professor Borlund will present the next Strix Memorial Lecture on Friday November 29th, 2019 at the same venue. ‘I’m very pleased and very, very honoured to receive the Tony Kent Strix Award. It’s an honour to join the past recipients who I have admired and respected since I was a student. I thank Professor Diane Sonnenwald for the nomination.’


At this year’s event, 2017 Strix award winner, Maarten de Rijke, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Amsterdam, presented on 'Retrieval as Interaction'. Professor de Rijke has a formidable high impact publications record in a range of areas including semantic search, semi-structured retrieval and social media. He has produced influential research outputs on the large-scale semantic analysis of online content and on the analysis of subjective aspects of information (sentiment, credibility, memory, reputation and experiences). His contributions to information retrieval, to the fast-evolving areas of computational methods for analysing, understanding and enabling effective human interaction with information sources, have been profound.


The afternoon was streamed live to the 17thDutch-Belgian Information Retrieval Workshop (DIR2018), at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, so over 170 international delegates got to see Professor de Rijke’s lecture.


A recording can be accessed here:


Stella Dextre Clarke, winner of the Tony Kent Strix Award in 2006, also reflected on 'Then and Now: Contrasts in the Scope of Information Retrieval.’ Now retired from consultancy in information management, she is still active as Vice-Chair of the UK Chapter of ISKO (International Society for Knowledge Organization). 


A recording of her presentation can be accessed here:


2017 Award Winner

The 2017 winner of the prestigious award was Maarten de Rijke, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Amsterdam. The Award was presented to him by Doug Veal (Strix Chair) and David Ball (UKeiG Chair) in London on Friday October 20th 2017 in recognition of his major and sustained contributions to the field of information retrieval and web searching.

Professor de Rijke is a well-known and highly respected member of the international information retrieval community having made considerable and widely recognised contributions to the field. He has an impressive and formidable high impact publications record in a range of areas including semantic search, semi-structured retrieval and social media. He has produced influential research outputs on the large-scale semantic analysis of online content and on the analysis of subjective aspects of information (sentiment, credibility, memory, reputation and experiences). His contributions to information retrieval, in particular to the fast evolving areas of computational methods for analysing, understanding and enabling effective human interaction with information sources, have been profound.

Professor de Rijke leads the Information and Language Processing Systems Group at the Informatics Institute of the University of Amsterdam. It is one of the world’s leading academic research groups in information retrieval and intelligent information access, with projects on self-learning search engines, semantic search and the interface between information retrieval and artificial intelligence. Maarten was presented with the award at the Tony Kent Strix Annual Memorial Lecture at The Geological Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London during the afternoon of Friday 20th October.

The 2016 Strix Award winner Maristella Agosti, Professor in Computer Science, Department of Information Engineering at the University of Padua, Italy, presented at the event. Professor Agosti has built a worldwide reputation for her work in many aspects of information retrieval and digital libraries. She was one of the first people to work in information retrieval in Italy where she acted as a catalyst for creating a vibrant and internationally recognised IR research community.

Her lecture was entitled “Behind the Scenes of Research and Innovation.” She writes: “We often excel in producing scientific achievements, but at times turning those achievements into innovation and technology transfer can be a tall order. Furthermore, even though we may document our findings well in scientific publications and reports, we are far less accomplished and proficient in documenting and explaining how the complex process of transforming scientific results into innovation has been performed and proven successful. In general, most of the knowledge of this transfer process remains only with those taking part in it, while certain aspects such as the time and context when the transfer took place may be rich in lessons to be learnt and provide opportunities for future teaching in diverse fields. This talk addressed the complex process of transforming research outcomes into innovation using some relevant examples in the fields of information retrieval and digital libraries.”


2016 Award Winner

UKeiG, in association with the Chemical Information and Computer Applications Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry;  the International Society for Knowledge Organisation UK and the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group, is delighted to announce that this year’s winner of the Tony Kent Strix Award is Maristella Agosti, Professor in Computer Science at the University of Padua where she has worked since completing her MsC in Statistical Sciences in 1975. Since then, she has built a world-wide reputation for her work in many aspects of information retrieval and digital libraries.

She was one of the first people to work in information retrieval in Italy and she acted as a catalyst for creating an Italian IR research community, which is now vibrant and internationally recognised. In 1987, she established the Information Management Systems (IMS) research group, the first academic research group on information retrieval and digital libraries in Italy. She has supervised many students, several of which are now leading researchers in the field as, for example, Fabio Crestani at the University of Lugano and Massimo Melucci at the University of Padua. In the mid 70s, she was among the first researchers to recognize the need to go beyond the Boolean model, merging probabilistic approaches with fuzzy-sets to dynamically rank documents in the development of an interactive system for end-users at the Historical Archive of Contemporary Arts of the Venice Biennale. She then worked on hypertext information retrieval, well before the advent of the Web. In particular, she proposed the EXPLICIT model, which distinguished between the level of documents (hyper-document) and the level of semantically related terms (hyper-concept), offering both semantic association and an associative reading function, and this was adopted by the European Space Agency in the HYPERLINE system. The work on EXPLICIT provided the basis for exploring the issue of the automatic construction of hypertexts, which is still crucial nowadays in the context of the Semantic Web and Linked Open Data.

Professor Agosti could have won the award for any of the Tony Kent Strix Award criteria, but her nomination cited them all! Her original contributions to hypertext information retrieval and automatic hypertext construction, to foundational aspects of digital libraries (the DELOS Reference Model), to the formalisation of digital annotations, and to framing evaluation in digital libraries as well as to shaping experimental evaluation in the CLEF information retrieval evaluation initiative are all major and contributions to the theoretical or experimental understanding of the information retrieval process.

The transfer of her search outcomes to products and services has been a constant aim, and Professor Agosti was responsible for building DUO, an online public access catalog that has served more than 65,000 users at University of Padua over many years; more recently SIAR, a digital archive system accessible on the Web offers access to the historical archives of the Italian Veneto Region; and the DIRECT system manages, curates, and makes accessible all the research data produced during CLEF large-scale evaluation campaigns and is used by more than 1,500 users from 70 countries worldwide.

Maristella Agosti has always played a leading role in the IR community, devoting particular attention to the transfer of knowledge and expertise to new generations of researchers. At the international level, she launched the highly successful and continuing ESSIR summer school series in information retrieval in 1990 and has contributed to the evolution of CLEF. At the national level, in 2005, she has designed and launched the Italian Research Conference on Digital Library Systems (IRCDL), which is an annual event for Italian researchers in the digital library and information retrieval fields.

As her nomination suggests, it is impossible to overstate the respect for and influence of Professor Agosti in the fields of information retrieval and digital libraries in Europe and beyond.


2015 Award Winner

The winner of the 2015 Tony Kent Strix Award is Peter Ingwersen, Professor Emeritus at The Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen.

UKeiG, in association with the Chemical Information and Computer Applications Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry;  the International Society for Knowledge Organisation UK and the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group, is delighted to announce that this year’s winner of the Tony Kent Strix Award is Peter Ingwersen, Professor Emeritus at The Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen, Professor II at Oslo University College, Norway and Docent at Åbo Akademi University, Finland.

Professor Ingwersen’s major and sustained contribution to the theoretical and experimental understanding of information retrieval makes him an excellent candidate for the Award. His work includes the first and most detailed empirical study of people’s interactions with human search intermediaries using a naturalistic approach  - now compulsory reading for both theoreticians and practitioners - which was used to inform the design of automated search intermediairies such as iPhone’s Siri, and his visionary monograph Information Retrieval Interaction (Taylor Graham, 1992) as well as the seminal work on defining and developing the “Principle of Polyrepresentation”, which has been instrumental in theoretically explaining why and how faceted categorisation and presentation, used in most websites today, helps users to perform effective relevance judgements and query formulation. His innovative and highly practical application of bibliometric and informetric approaches to the construction and use of information resources, structures and technologies on the web, which he coined “Webometrics”,  has had a tremendous impact far outreaching the borders of information retrieval research, as has his innovative research on the integration of the information retrieval and human information seeking processes, which he developed both theoretically and empirically with Professor Jarvelin - a previous Award winner.

These contributions highlight over 30 years of research excellence during which his leadership as conference or programme chair of ACM SIGIR, ISSI, ICTIR, CoLIS, IIiX/CHIIR (the last three of which he established at his own initiative, and which have since become premier venues for high‐quality research in Interactive Information Retrieval). Professor Ingwersen not only laid the foundations of Interactive Information Retrieval, but also consistently and with extraordinary vision, initiative and practical curiosity built upon them for the last 30 years resulting in over 200 publications and over 8,400 citations.

Professor Ingwersen excelled at bringing together the much divided system‐based and user-based information retrieval communities, producing research of the highest calibre that has long been compulsory reference in both academic curricula and by system developers. The significant advances emanating from his achievements of over 30 years are well recognised nationally (nominated for the Royal Order of Merit Award of the Danish Monarchy, an equivalent of OBE) and internationally, in both academia and industry.


2014 Award Winner

The winner of the 2014 Tony Kent Strix Award is Dr Susan T Dumais

UKeiG, in association with the International Society for Knowledge Organisation UK and the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group, is delighted to announce that this year’s winner of the UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award is Dr Susan T Dumais, Distinguished Scientist and Deputy Managing Director as well as Manager of the Context, Learning, and User Experience for Search (CLUES) Group, Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA 98052 USA.

Susan Dumais' research interests include algorithms and interfaces for improved information retrieval, as well as general issues in human-computer interaction. Her current research focuses on gaze-enhanced interaction, the temporal dynamics of information systems, user modeling and personalisation, novel interfaces for interactive retrieval, and search evaluation. She has published widely in the fields of information science, human-computer interaction and cognitive science. In her time at Microsoft she has also worked closely with several product groups including Bing, Windows Desktop Search, SharePoint Portal Server, and Office Online Help. Before joining Microsoft in 1997, she was a research scientist at Bell Laboratories and Bellcore, where she worked on latent semantic analysis, methods for combining search and navigation, and the organisational impact of new technology.

Dr. Dumais is a worthy recipient of the 2014 Tony Kent Strix award. For over 30 years, she has been a well-respected leading light in information retrieval - both in terms of research and practice - with sustained contributions that are both innovative and practical. Her significant impact has a range of theoretical, systems, and empirical bases. Dr. Dumais has developed novel algorithms to help people to find, use, and make sense of information. Her research at the intersection of human computer interaction and information retrieval has broad applications for both understanding and improving searching and browsing from the Internet to the desktop. Dr. Dumais has made a number of significant contributions to theory, experimentation, and practice in information retrieval. Perhaps her most significant contribution to date is the co-invention of Latent Semantic Analysis and Indexing (LSI); a key feature of which is its ability to extract the latent conceptual structure from a large collection of texts by analysing the associations between terms that occur in similar contexts, thus enabling a search engine to retrieve using concepts rather than keywords. LSI has been used to model various aspects of human cognition such as language acquisition and textual coherence. LSI stemmed from Dr Dumaisgroundbreaking prior work on the mismatch between the vocabularies of searchers and authors that may hinder traditional retrieval methods.

Beyond LSI, Dr Dumais has made many other significant contributions that demonstrate a strong record of innovation, initiative, original thinking, and pragmatism. This includes research in key areas such as text categorisation (with applications in email spam filtering), personalisation, applying large-scale usage data for ranking, personal information management, and question answering using Web data. Each is a landmark study and could easily represent its own noteworthy contribution to information retrieval.

Dr. Dumais has had incredible practical influence within Microsoft. She is widely regarded as a thought leader for tackling difficult technical challenges in search and retrieval. During her time at Microsoft, her research has shaped the development of new search technologies in products used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide (e.g., desktop search in Windows, personalisation in Bing). She has been a leader in the information retrieval community for many years: as a former chair of the ACM SIGIR organisation, as program chair for the SIGIR and SIGCHI conferences, and on many editorial boards for the top journals in the field. She has also been highly influential at the U.S. national level, serving on advisory boards for the National Research Council to shape policy, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science.

It is in recognition of her many contributions that Dr. Dumais has been appointed as a Microsoft Distinguished Scientist, a role reserved for those making significant and sustained innovative research contributions to computer science. Dr. Dumais’ fundamental contributions to computer science - especially information retrieval and human-computer interaction - have been recognised in a number of other ways (e.g., ACM Fellow, Athena Lecturer award from the ACM-W, National Academy of Engineering member). She is also one of a few researchers to successfully bridge information retrieval and human-computer interaction. Her outstanding interdisciplinary contributions have also been recognised in both communities, such as the Salton Award and the CHI Academy.


2013 Award Winner

The winner of the 2013 UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award is Professor W Bruce Croft

UKeiG, in association with the International Society for Knowledge Organisation UK and the British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group, is delighted to announce that this year’s winner of the UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award is Professor W Bruce Croft, Distinguished University Professor at the Department of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. USA.

Bruce Croft formed the Centre for Intelligent Information Retrieval (CIIR) in 1991, since when he and his students have worked with more than 90 industry and government partners on research and technology projects and have produced more than 900 papers. The CIIR has obtained more than US$35 million in research funding. Bruce Croft has made major contributions to most areas of information retrieval, including pioneering work in clustering, passage retrieval, sentence retrieval, and distributed search. One of the most important areas of work for Croft  relates to ranking functions and retrieval models, where he has led the development of one of the major approaches to modeling search: language modelling. In later years, Croft also led the way in the development of feature-based ranking functions. Croft and his research group have also developed a series of search engines: Inquery, the Lemur toolkit, Indri, and Galago. These search engines are open source and offer unique capabilities that are not replicated in other research retrieval platforms source – consequently they are downloaded by hundreds of researchers world wide. As a consequence of his work, Croft is one of the most cited researchers in information retrieval.

Professor Croft was also a member of the National Research Council Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, 2000-2003, and Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Information Systems, 1995-2002. He was elected a Fellow of ACM in 1997, and received the Research Award from the American Society for Information Science and Technology in 2000. He has also received the Gerard Salton Award from the ACM Special Interest Group in Information Retrieval (SIGIR).

A presentation took place during Internet Librarian International 2013. David Ball (UKeiG) and Doug Veal (Chair of the Strix Award Panel and representing RCS-CICAG, sponsors of the award) presided over the presentation. They were joined by Diane Heath, the representative of the UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award’s second sponsor, ASLIB: The Association for Information Management. Stephen Robertson received the trophy on behalf of the winner.


2012 Award Winner

In 2012 for the first time in the Award’s history, the judging panel was unable to identify a clear winner, and is delighted to announce that the UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award 2012 is made jointly to Doug Cutting and Professor David Hawking.

Doug Cutting has been working in the field of information retrieval for over fifteen years, beginning with five years at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) developing novel approaches to information access. Since then he has gone on to work for Apple's Advanced Technology Group and Excite, before developing the Lucene search engine and the open-source Hadoop framework. In July 2009, Doug Cutting was elected to the board of directors of the Apache Software Foundation, and in September 2010, he was elected its chairman; in 2011 he joined Cloudera to continue to develop the Hadoop software. The impact of Cutting’s work, both in developing Lucene and Hadoop, and his work at Apple, Excite and Yahoo on search development, is unparalleled in the history of search software development, and the judges had no doubt that he is a worthy recipient of the Award. 

Dave Hawking has successfully mixed involvement in the commercial world of search engines with academic activities. For seven years he co-ordinated the VLC (very large collection) and Web tracks at TREC, during which time the TREC idea of laboratory experiments was successfully scaled up to near web scale. As a researcher, he has focused on enterprise and web search, on evaluation of search engines in realistic contexts, on the use of a variety of sources of information by search engines (for example anchor text or context), and on search efficiency. Over his career he has helped to develop a real sense of the ways in which different contexts offer both difficulties and opportunities to the designers of search engines. His enterprise search engine company Funnelback has developed an enviable client list. As with his co-winner, the judges had no hesitation in making the Award.


2011 Award Winner

UKeiG is delighted to announce this year’s winner of the UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award. Professor Alan Smeaton of the School of Computing, Dublin City University is a worthy winner of this prestigious award with sustained contributions to the field of natural language processing techniques for textual information retrieval as well as to the indexing and retrieval of image, audio and video data.

Professor Smeaton now leads a research team at the University of 40 researchers working in areas including life-logging, video analysis, summarization and search, data aggregation in environmental sensor networks, collaborative search techniques, data fusion from sensor networks and using sensors in media applications.  He was founding director for the Centre for Digital Video Processing, a world-leading research centre for video processing and retrieval. Professor Smeaton was also the founding coordinator of TRECVid, which started as an independent evaluation exercise of the Text REtrieval Conference (TREC) in 2001 – an initiative that has clearly been instrumental to the progress of the field of digital video retrieval.


2010 Award Winner

On Monday 30th November Martin White joined the Strix Committee Chair, Doug Veal, at the RSC "Celebrating the history of chemical information" meeting to present the Tony Kent Strix 'Owl Trophy' and a certificate to Professor Michael Lynch.

Michael Lynch’s nomination for the UKeiG Tony Kent Strix Award was based on the first two award criteria, which the judges felt made a strong case. The nomination stated that his main contribution to a theoretical understanding of the information retrieval process was an extended analysis of the role of frequencies of occurrence of database characteristics on the efficiency of database searching.  This approach, named variety generation, was first developed in the design of screening systems for chemical substructure searching, but was then shown to be applicable to increasing the efficiency of processing for a range of text-based phenomena, including compression, sorting and signature searching. In terms of the second criteria, the development of, or significant improvement in, mechanisms, a product or service for the retrieval of information, it was felt that, whilst at CAS Mike Lynch carried out some of the first experiments anywhere in the world on the use of computers for the creation and searching of both textual and chemical databases, work that led to the first version of the CAS Registry Service, the world’s premier information resource in chemistry.  His work at Sheffield led directly to systems in use throughout the world for chemical substructure searching, for indexing databases of chemical reactions, and for the indexing and searching of the generic structures in chemical patents.


2009 Award Winner

The Tony Kent Strix Award, given by the UK eInformation Group of CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, was awarded to Carol Ann Peters of Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologia dell’Informazione “A. Faedo”. 

Carol was nominated for her work on the Cross Language Evaluation Forum (CLEF), the world’s leading forum for evaluating cross language searching systems, which Carol initiated and has run for ten years. This annual evaluation exercise has attracted a multi-disciplinary network of researchers to collaborate on shared tasks, to contribute to the CLEF testing resources, and to meet annually to present and discuss results. In its opening year, CLEF counted 20 participants; thanks to Carol’s hard work, CLEF has expanded year on year to become a major international event in information retrieval related research: in 2009 it attracted over 130 registrations from individual researchers and leading research groups from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.

The nomination noted that none of this would have happened had it not been for Carol Peter’s initiation and continued drive to run and maintain CLEF. Carol’s tireless work with CLEF has driven the information retrieval community to consider search in more than just the English language that previously dominated information retrieval research; thus she has made an enormous contribution to the awareness and understanding of information retrieval.

Initially, like most of the search evaluation exercises, CLEF adopted a ‘pooled test collection’ approach to evaluation that was adopted by other well known evaluation exercises like TREC. However, again, thanks to Carol’s leadership, CLEF has explored and indeed continues to investigate extensions to this basic model and the development of new metrics for new tasks so as to provide a multifaceted approach to performance evaluation. It is difficult to encapsulate here the huge impact of CLEF. CLEF’s academic output is strong, as evidence by the nearly 3,500 citations to the hundreds of papers presented at CLEF workshops. Multilingual search is garnering more interest in professional circles, where previously nationally-based work tasks have been extended to have international scope. As part of a long term plan to consider future directions, Carol has secured funding through a large number of consecutive EC projects, including the latest ‘TrebleCLEF’ project, which kept CLEF going and provided funding to hold a series of workshops where CLEF partners engaged with researchers and key industrial contacts in order to understand better how CLEF’s outputs were impacting on a series of communities and areas. Carol Peter’s contributions to information retrieval have been many and wide ranging, covering all of the areas for which the Tony Kent Strix Award is offered.

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